3. An English Tudor Style Enclave Can Be Found In Forest Hills Garden

The Secrets of Forest Hills
Tudor-style home in Forest Hills Garden

Located within the neighborhood of Forest Hills, Forest Hills Garden is one of the most beautiful and oldest of America’s planned communities. Specifically, the enclave occupies a 175-acre wedge and is located south of the Forest Hills LIRR station. Around 4,500 residents call Forest Hills Garden home, comprising over 800 houses, 11 apartment buildings, and an assortment of churches, restaurants, parks, and storefronts. Currently, it is managed by the Forest Hills Garden Corporation, which is run by the area’s property owners.

Forest Hills Garden was first established in 1909 when Margaret Sage, founder of the Russell Sage Foundation, bought 142 acres of Forest Hills from the Cord Meyer Development Company. Architects Grosvenor Atterbury and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. were commissioned to plan and design the new town. They chose to model Forest Hills Gardens’ architecture directly after English garden cities of the early 20th century, giving the enclave a nostalgic and rustic charm. These garden cities—first popularized by theorist Sir Ebenezer Howard in 1891—were intended to be closed communities of working-class people surrounded by “green belts,” which would contain proportionate zones for agriculture, homes, and industry. 

Throughout the neighborhood, visitors can find large Tudor homes fitted with the style’s typical boast towers, spires, Norman-inspired turrets, gabled roofs, and mullioned windows. Other additions to the enclave that help to give it a decidedly English appearance are its wrought-iron street lamps and sloping, curved streets containing nautical blue-hued street signs. Other nearby communities modeled after garden cities include Sunnyside and Jackson Heights, both in Queens.

Forest Hills Garden has maintained its distinctive style amid the bustling and modernizing city as a result of a covenant created in 1913. The covenant intended to ensure that the community remained an idyllic slice of country life in the heart of New York City’s growing industrial landscape. Specifically, the covenant puts limits on industry and prevents exterior alterations to the homes without approval, which has greatly aided in preserving the community’s historic style over the past 100 years. Moreover, the covenant has never imposed exclusionary economic, racial, or social restrictions on residents interested in moving, with the garden city concept designed to house individuals from different socio-economic strata.